Video News & Notes: Reviews
Review by Tony Seideman
Rolling Stone #486 -- November 6, 1986
Hard to Handle: Bob Dylan with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | CBS/Fox Video Music, 60 minutes, $29.98
Teamed with a dream backup band, Dylan growls his way through a full roster of his songs, from the religiously toned "In the Garden" to old standbys "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Just Like a Woman."He serenades a pantheon of heroes that ranges from Jesus Christ to Lenny Bruce, and, uncharacteristically, talks to the audience as comfortably as if he were chatting with a small group of friends.
Petty and his Heartbreakers are a potent act on their own, but here their job is to step out of the spotlight -- and they do it well, providing a solid foundation for Dylan to build upon. Dylan is trying to do something simple here, to sing his songs and have fun with an audience that is more than ready to rock. At times Asutralian director Gillian Armstrong, known for the movie My Brilliant Career, reaches for epic visual effects with dramatic camera sweeps and rigidly cadenced editing. She needn't have.
Random Notes: Foreverly Yours
By Mark Coleman
Rolling Stone #487 -- November 20, 1986
No, they're not glittery idols, but Phil and Don Everly deserve their star on Hollywood's fabled Walk of Fame. At the ceremony, Tom Petty paid tribute to the duo, pointing out that the Everly Brothers helped invent rock & roll. (What's more, they're still putting out good records). Elvis Costello was spotted in the crowd, and Paul and Linda McCartney sent along a congratulatory telegram. Speaking of harmonies, Tom Petty joined Elvis Costello onstage in Los Angeles that same week for encore duets of "(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?" and "American Girl."
On The Road Again
Rolling Stone #489 -- December 18, 1986
Veteran rockers hit the road in '86.
Even though Bob Dylan was playing with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the best band he's had since The Band, this summer's True Confessions tour seemed offhand, even haphazard.
Billboard -- December 27, 1986
BOB DYLAN with TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS
Sydney Entertainment Center, Sydney, Australia
Petty & the Heartbreakers weren't so much support as a backing unit for Dylan, probably his best since the Band.
Tom Petty's new LP: Back to basics
By Anthony DeCurtis
Rolling Stone #499 -- May 7, 1987
"It's kind of a mongrel, this album," says Tom Petty about his new album, Let Me Up (I've Had Enough). Petty and the Heartbreakers recorded the basic tracks for the eleven songs on the album during a five-week studio blowout last spring, while on a break from their tour with Bob Dylan. The band returned to the studio this fall to complete the album, working sporadically over the next few months. "The only rule of the sessions," Petty says, "was the tape had to roll from the time the first guy got here until the last guy was gone."
As a result, Let Me Up is a raucous guitar-rock LP that represents a marked departure from the conceptual unity of Southern Accents, a record Petty describes as having been "very grueling" to make. "It is a departure, maybe even a relief from that," he says. "The number-one characteristic is that there are only five Heartbreakers on this album. There are no outsiders on it whatsoever ... Most of it is just off-the-cuff stuff -- I like the feel of it so much. I think you probably could find some sort of theme in it, but it's not a serious concept album, It's just really meant to be a good rock & roll album."
Petty and Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell initially went into the studio to record a couple of songs, but then momentum started to build. "We wound up staying there," says Petty. "I hadn't even thought about an album when we started making this one. The word 'record' wasn't even brought up much -- it really wasn't talked about." Petty and the band had such a good time that they came up with much more material than they needed. "We just played sets," says Petty, describing how the band worked in the studio. "I'd write a song and then try it right there ... There could've been two records if I'd been inclined to spend another two months sorting it out. It's something that's never happened to me before, where I wrote that quickly." Petty says that some of the extra tracks will be used as B sides.
By Marc Holan
Cleveland Scene -- June 25, 1987
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Georgia Satellites, Del Fuegos | Blossom | June 23
Like the old package tours of the '50s, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "Rock 'n' Roll Caravan" rolled into Blossom Music Center last Tuesday night and proceeded to send stock in guitar manufacturing companies through the roof. It wasn't just that all three bands performing that night depend on guitars for their power, but that the guitar is used as THE only true rock 'n' roll instrument. Without the guitar, there would have been no rock 'n' roll.
Tom Petty came on stage to a tumultuous ovation, and from the moment he and the Heartbreakers broke into "Breakdown," it was obvious this was going to be a special performance by a band that has long been a northeastern Ohio favorite. Playing a good mix of old and new songs, Petty sang them with both passion and vigor, two ingredients that are sorely lacking in most rock acts today.
Tom Petty has never been a particularly political songwriter, but he took this opportunity to talk about Ronald Reagan and the P.T.L. "This is a great country," he said before breaking into a solo version of "The Waiting," "and there are some bad things going on. I can see them from the window of my tour bus -- homeless people, the unemployed and nuclear reactors." It's clear that Petty's recent friendship with Bob Dylan has made him more aware of social issues. It wasn't out of place in a rock concert, but it did seem slightly forced coming from a rock 'n' roller like Petty.
Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) | Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | MCA
Review by Anthony DeCurtis
Rolling Stone #501 -- June 4, 1987
Despite the desperate surrender implied in the title, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers come out standing tough and triumphant on Let Me Up (I've Had Enough). The eleven songs on the album chronicle characters who are reeling from media assaults and shattered relationships. But anger and the urgent need to make sense of a world spinning out of control are strong reasons for survival -- and they are powerfully rendered in the muscular, guitar-charged rock the Heartbrealers hammer out.
Not that Let Me Up is in any ultimate sense a grim album. The characters in these tunes may live in absurdly oppressive circumstances -- the song title "My Life/Your World" pretty much sums up their sense of impotence. But the gnarled, sarcastic humor of Petty's lyrics and vocals -- "I believe you baby," he sings on the title track, "I know you wouldn't lie/Like a dog won't bark, like a bird won't fly" -- and the sheer exuberance of the music give the mystified losers he conjures up something like the last laugh.
Ridin' with the king
KC Pitch -- July 1987
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | ★★★★★ | "Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) | MCA 5836 | $8.98 list | Produced by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell
I must admit I've pretty much written Petty off the last few years. I felt he was a prime example of the "well-fed artist" syndrome. Well let me tell you, this record was a slap in the face. It's solid, straight-ahead rock, much more in line with his earlier work. I really recommend giving this one a shot.